Jan/Feb 2011 Newsletter

Posted by Mark A. Puglisi, ACE on Fri, Feb 04, 2011 @ 07:44 AM

Termites Swarming Soon

Within the next few months, a big event will happen in the life of millions of termite colonies--they will begin to swarm in our area. Why is that so important?

There are several reasons, First, for many homeowners this is the first sign they've seen that they have a problem with termites, and it arrives as a "wake-up call" that they need to take action and call us for an inspection. Second, unlike wingless worker termites that can't reproduce, these wingless worker termites are reproducers--they will mate and start entire new colonies of this destructive pest. Many will start their new colonies within several blocks of where they emerged.

These winged termites emerge from mature termite colonies in hundreds of thousands. Fortunately, most will not survive to start a new colonies--they'll either e eaten by predators, or die from adverse weather conditions.

Often, ant swarmers emerge at about the same time as termite swarmers, so it is important to tell the difference between these two pests, because control methods are very different. We've included a handy drawing that shows some distinguishing features of winged termites and ants--termite front and rear wings are about the same length, termites have a broad "waist" or middle section, and their antennae are curved and not sharply bent like an ant's.


Call us if you see either of these pests in or around your home. We'll make a professional inspection, and whichever pest you have, design the best control strategy to control them for your particular home.

Pests Waiting For Spring Rebound

What do pest do to survive the winter cold?

Indoor pests like rats, mice, cockroaches, ants, and even bedbugs are still active during the winter months, eating and multiplying as quickly as before.

But what about all the pests outdoors? These mostly have stopped multiplying, but they have diverse methods of surviving adverse weather. They may crawl under bark or in cracks in walls that offer protection from extreme weather. Some kinds hide beneath rocks, boards, or sidewalks that keep them warmer. Others survive the winter only as eggs or pupae, both of which are often more weather-resistant than adult pests. Some pests go into a state of diapause where their body functions slow down (much more so than hibernating bears), allowing them to survive until conditions are better again.

Some insects, including carpenter ants, actually produce glycerol--a kind of antifreeze--that allows them to survive colder temperatures without their bodies freezing. Ants nest in the ground also moving up and down in the ground to stay warmer, they cluster together to stay warmer on cold days.

So while we hope that cold weather will kill off enough pests so that the spring and summer will be pest-free, unfortunately it doesn't happen like that. If certain pest species are living in our area, they have already adapted themselves to our conditions, and again every year. We'll be ready for them!

A Major Rat Outbreak

About every 50 years in north-eastern India, an amazing event occurs: the entire bamboo forest flowers, set seed, and then dies. This is not a small event, because the bamboo forest covers over 16000 square miles, and when it sets seed it produces over 22,000 tons of bamboo seed per square mile. The bamboo flowering began 2004 and will continue into 2011.

Rats eat the bamboo seeds, and the rat population have been exploding because of the glut in their food supply. The "rat" armies", as the locals call the huge populations of rodents, wipe out rice crops and then descend on stored food supplies. In addition they spread diseases and devastate many kinds of wildlife.

The 2008 cyclone Nargis made the problem even worse because it devastated farmland and caused new crops of rice to be planted at more staggered intervals, which ensured a more continuous food supply for the rats.